Musicians can be a pretentious bunch. They like to have things that are specifically for them, including the seat they sit in. They even have pretentious names for these seats, like thrones and music benches.
The truth is, though, it’s more about practicality and comfort than it is about belonging to an exclusive club. Playing an instrument on a couch, or God-forbid, a chair with armrests, can be challenging. Especially a relatively large instrument that requires a ton of moving around. You know, like a guitar.
If you play guitar and like to sit while you play, this article is for you. We’ll look at a handful of guitar stools and review them. We’ll start with a quick break down, so you can jump in and choose one fast. After the review list, we’ll give you some extra considerations, tips, and tricks, and answer some of the most commonly asked questions.
- Choosing the Right Stool
- Top 10 Best Guitar Stools 2021
- 1. Best Overall Stool: Gator Frameworks Combination Seat
- 2. Best Classic Stool: Fender Barstool
- 3. Most Highly Adjustable Seat: Quik-Lok DX-749
- 4. Best Budget Stool: EastRock Height Adjustable Throne
- 5. Best Premium Stool: Pick N Glider
- 6. Best-Looking Studio Piece: Martin Player Stool
- 7. Best Collapsible Bench: RockJam KB100
- 8. Most Comfortable Throne: Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto
- 9. Best Compact Stool: Gator Guitar Stool and Stand
- 10. Best Alternative Seat: Sofa Sack
- Guitar Stool FAQ
- More to Consider When Choosing a Guitar Stool
- Sit Down and String Up
Choosing the Right Stool
There is a stool to fit every style of guitar player. That’s a round-about way of saying there are hundreds of different chairs on the market, and picking one is almost entirely subjective.
In order to help you navigate the market, we put together this quick guide. It mostly consists of a description of different considerations. We have broken the list of things to ponder into two separate groups: design and construction-based features and the highly subjective considerations.
Design and Construction
There are a handful of features that are hard-coded into a chair due to the design. They are your starting points. You can’t force a sturdy, wood stool to fold up and fit into a flight case. Even if you really want it to.
- Collapsibility: If you are low on space or plan on traveling with the stool a lot, you’ll want something that collapses.
- Weight: Weight ties into the item above. Having to lug around a heavy stool can get frustrating quickly.
- Backrests: Many player specific seats forgo the backrest. They can add an extra level of comfort, but they can also be in the way.
- Stands and Other Features: Some companies will throw in other design features, like a stand for your guitar or height adjustability.
The following things you have to consider are a lot less objective than the features involved in the construction. Your own playing style and needs are going to dictate which of these features you think are important.
- Cushion Size and Shape: Do you prefer a thick foam cushion or a sturdy wooden seat? Either way, there is a stool for you.
- Height: There are two general heights. Shorter stools are meant for your feet to sit on the floor, and taller stools are meant to be used with a footrest.
- Style: There are a few different styles of guitar chair that people use. The classic bar stool is, of course, a classic, but drum thrones, keyboard benches, and musician chairs are all common seats.
- Looks: A piece of furniture sitting in your guitar studio has to be more than just a chunk of metal. It has to be part of the experience, so it should fit your design aesthetic.
We have one final note before we get into the reviews. We ranked these based on price, features, and how useful we think they are, but we also tried hard to get a really good variety of different styles for you to choose from. If you aren’t sure what style you want, take your guitar and go sit on things that are similar in shape. You’ll at least get an idea of what you don’t like.
1. Best Overall Stool: Gator Frameworks Combination Seat
Why we like it:
This seat does it all. It’s easy to haul onto the stage, has a backrest, and doubles as a stand when it’s not in use.
- Other Features:Stand
This folding Gator stool is the perfect thing if you don’t want to think too much about anything else and would just like a pleasant place to plant your behind while playing guitar. It’s not fancy, it’s not expensive, and it doesn’t have any crazy features. However, it has a backrest so you can be comfortable and a stand to store your guitar when you aren’t playing. That makes it suitable for just about any situation.
Like we said above, this stool isn’t the best at anything. The Gibraltar throne is more comfortable, the Quik-Lok is a lot more adjustable, and the Fender Barstool looks more like what you’d expect in a studio.
However, the Gator Frameworks Seat is brilliant because it does do everything you could want. It can fold and be carried onto the stage, and it has enough cushioning that you can play for an hour and not get a bad case of monkey butt. Plus, even when you aren’t using it as a chair, you can use it to prop up a guitar. It’s a great value, too. Unlike some of the other examples we mentioned prior, you can pick this stool up without feeling like you are making a big investment.
We have some issues with it. The lack of adjustability can be frustrating since it’s on the tall side for sitting flat-footed but on the short side for using a step. It’s also a little heavy. It’s made to be something you can haul onto the stage, but it actually weighs more than many other stools that are not collapsible. If you really need the extra portability, you can pick up this seat without the backrest here. These aren’t huge issues, but nothing can do everything perfectly. This stool just comes close because it can do everything.
- Has a backrest and guitar stand
- Folds down and is easy to transport
- It’s a great value
- The lack of adjustability can be a turnoff
- It’s a little heavy for a portable seat
2. Best Classic Stool: Fender Barstool
Why we like it:
It looks like it belongs in any guitar parlor, says Fender on it, and is super comfortable. What’s not to love?
- Other Features:None
The biggest downside to the Fender Barstool is that it’s a bit difficult to transport. It’s on the heavy side, it takes up quite a bit of floor space, and it doesn’t fold up at all. It’s absolutely perfect for a studio, room, or stage, though. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a music shop that doesn’t have something similar on their floor; any place where you can play before you buy will have a throne like this waiting for you.
The best part about the Fender Barstool is that it’s made to fit the guitar lifestyle. It looks like it belongs in a music room, it’s got reinforced foam padding so you can practice for hours, and the tube frame can withstand being used in a bar fight.
The 24” height is pretty much the standard stool height for musicians. Still, like most fixed pieces, you’ll probably miss the adjustability if you are on the taller side. You’ll also have to decide how much portability matters. If you really need to haul your seat around with you, consider just grabbing the Gator Frameworks seat instead. It’s the same height, has a backrest, and is easy to fold and carry.
For people with a studio or other dedicated space, though, you may have an even more difficult decision ahead of you. The Fender Barstool has a Hard Rock Cafe style vibe to it; it definitely fits the Strat and Tele style that Fender is known for. If you want something a little classier, we also have a Martin stool on the list. It’s wood and muted instead of chrome and bright red, so it better fits the scotch and acoustic side of things. It’s a tough call on which one looks better sitting in front of an amp wall.
- Looks fantastic
- Not adjustable
- Not portable
3. Most Highly Adjustable Seat: Quik-Lok DX-749
Why we like it:
It doesn’t matter what shape or size your body is; you can make this stool contort to your most comfortable seating position.
- Other Features:Foot Rest
Everything about the Quick Lok is adjustable. That is what separates it from just about every other seat you can buy. If you are really short, you can move the footrest up, the seat down, and the backrest forward. If you are built like a sasquatch, feel free to kick the footrest out of the way, extend the seat height to the max, and adjust the back to the point that mere mortals would think it’s a headrest.
The Quick Lok has a lot of great things going for it. It’s well built, first off. When you fold it up and chuck it into the back of a truck, you don’t have to worry about it breaking. Second, you can fold it up and chuck it into the back of your truck. It’s not the most portable thing; the little Gator seat puts it to shame in that department. It is a lot better than something like the Fender Barstool since it can fold up.
It’s the adjustability that really sells it, though. One of the biggest issues with many other stools is that they are built to fit one guitarist’s shape well, but they can be unfriendly for people who are not of an average build. At the extremes of the adjustments, this stool can be unstable, so try not to do one-footed balancing acts. The simple fact that it can adjust to those extremes makes it a good buy anyway.
- Good for a large variety of people
- Easy to fold and stow
- It can be unstable
- It’s not as portable as other folding stools
4. Best Budget Stool: EastRock Height Adjustable Throne
Why we like it:
It’s simple, compact, and cheap. Often that’s all you need.
- Height:20in Adjustable
- Other Features:None
This little stool is pretty much perfect for anyone who’s on a tight budget. It’s very inexpensive, and it’s a decent place to sit. Even if you aren’t on a budget, it’s great to pick up a second stool just for travel or need something for your buddy to sit on when they come over to jam. It’s very easy to fold and stow away in addition to being cheap.
We aren’t going to sugar coat it; this stool is just fine for practicing or the occasional gig, but you’ll definitely want something more comfortable if you do a ton of playing. You’ll also want something if you are on the heavy side. The three small legs make it a bit unstable if you are a bigger person, just grab the Gator Frameworks seat instead.
You won’t get a lighter, easier to stow stool, though, and you definitely won’t find one for cheaper. The focus on benign lightweight and cheap makes it a really good beginner or secondary seat. You will probably graduate from it, and that’s ok. We all start somewhere.
- Very inexpensive
- Doesn’t take up much space
- Not very sturdy
- There are more comfortable stools
Why we like it:
The Pick N Glider is a craftsman style, beautiful rocking chair specifically made for guitarists. It’s not portable at all, but if comfort is your ultimate goal, this is what you want.
- Other Features:Rocks and Glides
This chair is an investment for your home. It’s not really a studio chair or gig tool. It’s more like an heirloom rocking chair that you would feel good having on display in your living room.
Classy can often be hard to find in the guitar world. Guitar culture is rife with words like punk, grunge, and parties. You know, the “sex, drugs, and rock and roll” lifestyle. That’s not what you get with the Pick N Glider. It’s too expensive to be a tour chair, and it promotes good posture because of its design instead of slouching over your guitar half drunk. In short, this is something for someone that takes playing guitar really, really seriously.
We know we are stretching the definition of a stool here, but let’s be honest; most of the things that people call a stool do not reflect the textbook definition of a stool. We wanted to include this on our list to show people that this kind of furniture exists. Here is a high-quality, beautiful, purpose-built guitar playing chair. We call the Martin Player Stool a good looking and classy thing, but there’s honestly no comparison with the wood and upholstered cushioning of the Pick N Glider.
It’s not just a piece for showing off, though. The design forces you to have good posture, and the extra cushioning makes it easy on joints. It even glides so you can keep rhythm with your whole body for hours on end without getting worn out.
The biggest problem is that the Pick N Glider is it’s a heavy piece of furniture. It takes up a ton of space. It also has a price tag that reflects the fact that it’s a high-quality piece of furniture and not just a gig stool. It’s not very expensive compared to the high-end guitars you’ll want to play while sitting on it, but it is the most expensive thing on our list.
- Incredibly comfortable
- Designed specifically for guitar playing
- Looks stunning
- Large, heavy, and hard to move
- Very Expensive
6. Best-Looking Studio Piece: Martin Player Stool
Why we like it:
This product, from the famed Martin guitar company, looks perfectly at home nestled in with a sea of guitars and amps. It’s the quintessential musician’s seat, and you can’t go wrong with it.
- Other Features:None
Sometimes the best thing you can get is something that is simple and reliable. That’s what the Martin Player Stool is. It’s made of wood, it has no cushion, and it doesn’t collapse. It’s just a sturdy stool for you to perch on when you play, and it doesn’t need to be anything else.
The only extra you get is the words Martin & Co printed on the seat, which is a nice touch. Martin is a prolific company in the guitar world and having their logo adorn your studio adds a touch of timelessness.
There’s not a whole lot to say about this stool. It’s sturdy and will look good with a glass of scotch sitting on it. In a way, it’s the more mature sibling of the Fender Barstool, much like the guitars they represent. The Fender is loud and heavy. The Martin is dark and understated.
You’ll want a different seat if you don’t want to sit on a wood plank. You’ll also want a different seat if you need adjustability. It is decently portable despite it not being collapsible since it’s lightweight, so there is that. Just don’t expect it to be more than it is, and you’ll be happy.
- Very sturdy
- Looks good
- Easily fits any music room design because it says Martin on it
- Not adjustable
- Some people will find the lack of cushion uncomfortable
7. Best Collapsible Bench: RockJam KB100
Why we like it:
A bench is a great option if you need a bit more width than a traditional stool can offer.
- Other Features:None
There are two types of people who can benefit from using a bench like this as a seat for guitar playing. Up first are people who, well, need more seat than the average person. It has a weight rating of 340lbs and is two feet wide. Compare that to the EastRock Throne that is barely a foot across and can only support 200lbs, and you will know if this is a concern for you.
The second type of people are kids. Kids generally have short legs, so the low seat height won’t bother them. They also tend to have issues sitting still, so the extra width can allow them to move and wriggle around without falling off. It’s especially great for children who can’t quite support the full weight of a guitar for long periods; the extra space on the bench can be used to prop up the instrument.
Traditionally you’d use a bench for playing the piano and not the guitar. When you have a keyboard, you have to move side to side to remain comfortable hitting all 88 keys. Guitars are much more compact and don’t require much movement.
However, using a bench to play guitar can be a very comfortable option for many people. They are often lower, so people who prefer to sit closer to the ground will be able to sit flat-footed. They are often more heavily padded too. Long ago, someone decided that pianists deserve more comfortable seats than other musicians, and that idea persists to this day.
The downside is that they take up more space. Even though this one collapses, it still takes up quite a bit of space. The other issue is that if you are particularly tall or prefer to play with a footrest, you’ll want something with more height. If you need something that is more adjustable and/or takes up less space, check out the Quick Lok seat instead. It costs a bit more, but you’ll appreciate the extra height.
- Good for people on the heavier side
- Great for children
- It’s not very expensive
- Not good for taller people
- Takes up a lot of space
8. Most Comfortable Throne: Gibraltar Hydraulic Moto
Why we like it:
The wide, well-cushioned seat is perfect for long hours of playing.
- Other Features:Extra Wide Cushion
These types of stools have a few different names. Some say it’s motorcycle style, some call it tractor style, and some call it Nitro style. The last one is a kind of a brand name deal, but the others describe the seat’s shape. Instead of just being a disc, like the more traditional Fender Barstool, it’s shaped like a motorcycle seat. Or a tractor seat, if you prefer.
That shape gives you an extra level of comfort. The Gibraltar Throne takes it to the next level, though, with extra padding and a nice Cordura cover. The covering and shape help hold you in place and allow you to rock out for hours on end without getting saddle sore.
This is another seat on our list that isn’t technically or solely for guitarists. This one is a throne, traditionally a seat reserved for drummers.
The thing is that everything that makes it a great seat for a drummer also makes it a great seat for a guitarist. Comfortable, grippy, and able to withstand a beating. It collapses, so it’s easy to transport, and it raises and lowers hydraulically like an office chair. That’s a cool feature you won’t find on anything else on our list. It’s just another thing tradition decided guitarists don’t deserve.
It costs a bit more than most options; you’ll have to really want that extra comfort to justify buying it over the much less expensive Fender Barstool. You’ll also have to put up with your drummer always trying to take it. Just set a metronome on it to scare them away.
- Really comfortable
- Height adjusts using a simple lever
- Very durable
- A bit expensive
- The seat shape isn’t for everyone
9. Best Compact Stool: Gator Guitar Stool and Stand
Why we like it:
It’s lightweight, versatile, and compact. If you are looking for a great stool to drag to gigs, here it is.
- Other Features:Guitar Stand
Let’s cut straight to it: the Gator Guitar Stool is pretty much exactly the same as the Gator Framework Combination; it just doesn’t have a back. That makes it super easy to haul onto the stage. If you do a lot of traveling, play a lot of small gigs, or just live in a tiny apartment with too many guitars in it, this ultra-compact stool is for you.
This little stool suffers from a few notable drawbacks. First, it’s not adjustable. That’s unfortunate because it seems like it should be. It also isn’t a very good guitar stand. The Gator with a back also doesn’t make a great guitar stand, but it’s so versatile that that is easy to overlook. With the smaller, backless stool here, it’s a lot more noticeable.
That being said, this seat weighs less than 9 pounds and folds up for easy transportation. Everyone has shown up to practice only to find out your singer is letting their girlfriend use your usual spot, and now you have to choose between a rock-hard dining room chair or the funny smelling couch. The Gator Stool is easy to just bring with you, and it’s a place to stick your ax when the pizza shows up. That’s a clear win.
- Very compact
- Doubles as a stand
- Not adjustable
- It’s not a great stand
10. Best Alternative Seat: Sofa Sack
Why we like it:
If you’ve ever been in a garage band, you’ve probably experienced the comfort and entertainment of using a bean bag chair as your seat of choice.
- Backrest:Sort Of
- Other Features:It Doubles As Bass Absorption
We could argue that it’s a perfect piece of furniture for a recording booth or studio. These chairs are full of foam, which means they add a cubic yard of sound absorption to the room. They also provide a nice place to rest between sets. When you collapse after running through Eruption with choreography, you can collapse into a big pillow.
The truth is that you aren’t going to put it into your recording studio. You are going to throw it next to your guitar wall, grab the old acoustic that leans against your desk, and play after a long day of hard work. Even though you’ll tell yourself that you should be sitting in your dedicated guitar stool that will force you to have good posture, the bean bag chair is just the most inviting way to noodle on the strings.
The downsides are a bit obvious. They take up a ton of space, are not portable, offer no support, are hard to get out of, and are terrible if you have bad knees. If you are looking at buying one, though, you probably don’t really care about any of that. You just care about having a comfortable place to write songs.
- Very comfortable
- Come in a variety of fun colors
- Good for acoustics
- Doesn’t look professional
- Doesn’t promote anything close to good posture
Still have questions about guitar stools? We’ve answered the most common ones below.
The practical answer is no. You can play guitar while sitting on the floor if you want. However, having a dedicated guitar chair has a few great advantages. A guitar stool can force you to have better posture, for one thing. It also provides you with a practice tool. Plus, having a dedicated place that you should sit and play guitar is a good way to keep the act of practicing on your mind without distraction.
Usually, if you are right-handed, the guitar will rest on your right leg. That’s what most people find is the most comfortable. However, many guitarists buck convention and rest the guitar on their left leg, especially classically trained people. Just experiment with it and find out what works best for you.
You should practice both. If you really need to choose one to focus on, there are two things to consider. The first thing to consider is how you are going to play a majority of the time. If you don’t plan on playing while standing up, spending time practicing playing while standing isn’t really necessary. The second thing is your comfort. If you find standing for long periods of time uncomfortable, you will be less likely to practice. Anything you can do to practice more is a good thing.
No. In fact, a stool that has no back can encourage “active sitting” which may be better for your back than sitting in a chair with a back. The most important thing to do is to remember not to slouch. Slouching *is* bad for your back, regardless of what you are sitting on.
The most common height is 24in, but the “best” height is whatever height works for you. If you are looking for one, you can get a good idea by sitting on different things around the house. Your kitchen counter is 36in tall, the average dining room chair is 18in tall, and your average bar stool is 28in.
More to Consider When Choosing a Guitar Stool
Our list includes a lot of different options and ideas. If you are still having trouble deciding on what you want from a guitar stool, this section is for you. Here we will look at the purpose of a dedicated guitar chair, what some alternatives might be, and some tips on having better playing posture.
What Is a Guitar Stool?
A stool is a piece of furniture that does not have a back or arms. Usually, they have one, three, or four legs. A guitar stool is a stool that is considered good for playing guitar.
As you can see from the review list, we were a little bit liberal with our definition of guitar stool and chose to focus on the best seats in general for guitar playing. There are two reasons for that. First off, no manufacturers can seem to agree on what a stool really is. If you go to a music site and type the word stool into the search, you’ll get hundreds of different things. Some of them won’t even be seats at all.
Second, we feel that if you are searching for a guitar stool, you may not be familiar with the myriad of other options. It’s easy to go to a guitar store and see ten or so Fender Barstools, but there are a ton of stools and chairs meant for musicians out there. Plus, while things like drummer’s thrones or piano benches are not technically guitar stools, they can be used in exactly the same way and often have identical features. It’s not necessary to split hairs here.
Reasons to Own a Dedicated Guitar Seat
The biggest reason to own a guitar stool, or another dedicated seat for guitar playing, is that it gives you a space for playing. One of the things every teacher or online list will mention is that to encourage practicing, you should have a place to play guitar and nothing else. It eliminates distractions and excuses.
There are some other good reasons, though.
- They encourage good posture
- They are easy to transport to gigs that may not provide a chair for you
- They provide a place to rest during practice if you travel to a rehearsal
- They add to the aesthetic of a studio or practice space
Guitar Stool Alternatives
If you are just starting out on your guitar playing journey and don’t want to invest in a dedicated guitar stool, there are some decent alternatives that you may already have. You won’t get any of the features and will probably have to compromise on comfort compared to the ones we list. Use your time dealing with alternatives to figure out what you really want out of a dedicated seat.
- An inexpensive, armless office chair
- A standard dining room chair
- A common barstool
- A director’s chair with foldable arms
You want to make sure that you have a place to sit that’s free of obstruction, provides a secure seat that you can move around on, and is adequately high off the ground.
There are a handful of things that you can get to elevate your guitar playing even further. They are mostly centered around making you more comfortable while seated and keeping things within reach.
- A foam footrest for elevating the leg you are resting the guitar on.
- A folding music stand that’s easy to keep with your travel chair.
- A folding guitar stand, especially if your stool doesn’t come equipped with one.
- A decent strap. Many people will forgo the strap if they are seated when playing guitar, but using a strap takes the weight off your wrists and allows you to play with less strain.
Proper Guitar Posture
Having proper posture is essential to enjoying the process of playing guitar. Being in pain is generally considered unpleasant, so let’s avoid that. Liberty Park Music has a good in-depth article about posture, but there are a few key things to keep in mind.
- Keep your back straight.
- Use a strap so that you are not holding the guitar up with your fretting hand.
- If you are just starting out, or have some strumming hand pain, consider resting the guitar on the leg opposite your dominant hand. There are a lot of arguments about whether or not that that is proper, which is often a coded way to say, “Do what works for you.”
Sit Down and String Up
You need to be comfortable when you play. That’s part of getting better; you design and refine your space into a place where you can practice and enjoy playing. Get a guitar seat to help with that. Call it a throne, like the drummers do, and enjoy stress-free strumming.